One of my highlights from the last 3 months was when I reached the summit of Mount Arayat. Arayat is an extinct stratovolcano rising to the height of 1,026 metres. Due to its location in the flat agricultural region of Nueva Ecija, it can be seen for miles around, looming over all that surrounds it.
There was not a single day in Cabiao when the mountain didn't provide spectacular views. But when I looked at Arayat I didn't just see its beauty. I saw a challenge. It was meant to be climbed.
So one day the girls and I decided to just do it.
We woke up at 4am, picked up some energy snacks and jumped on the bus. It took us a while to get to to the base of the mountain because it is only climbable from certain sides. Thankfully, we wouldn't be climbing up the mountain blind, as the route is marked all the way up. Although after an hour or so of some steep uphill climbing the path split into two: were we going to take the traditional (and much tougher) trail, or the modern path up to the summit? Of course we went for option A and my god was it hard! At times there were 80 degree boulder walls- which we had to pull ourselves up using our limited arm strength! Although the strenuous and gruelling trail was not without it rewards: the route was absolutely beautiful, providing breathtaking views all the way up!
Eventually we made it to the top...and words cannot describe what we saw. The world seemed to stretch out endlessly below us, as if we were standing on the moon! Hopefully the pictures can give you some sense of the view we found at the summit!
Unfortunately, we couldn't stay at the top forever, so after a brunch break we picked ourselves up and started off on the demanding trek downhill. Why is climbing downhill so much hard that going up?? I think I spent most of the descent on my arse, slipping and tripping the majority of the way down! 8 hours later- and feeling very broken and bruised - we proudly finished our expedition of Mount Arayat!
We made it to the top...and back again!